Vehicles pulling into Interlochen in the 1950s and 60s always made a beeline for Bud’s.
One of the first true convenience stores, Bud and Grace Schroeder’s gas station also sold provisions, pies, and more for those vacationing in the area.
Following the couple’s retirement, the building was torn down, eventually making way for – another Bud’s.
Longtime customer Sue Bowen decided to reinvent Bud’s when she opened it, forgoing gas in favor of the donuts and pastries so many people remembered.
Bud’s is now a complete coffee shop with specialty drinks, ice cream, salads and sandwiches, and even has a retail shop with a little something for everyone.
The interior is rustic north woods décor with signage from the 50s and 60s, photos of times gone by, musical instruments, snowshoes, and an old outboard motor.
Before he died, Bud Schroeder gave Bowen his blessing for his namesake’s reincarnation.
General manager Toni Turczyn came onboard shortly after Bud’s opened in 2008. She’s since overseen the cafe’s growth.
On the menu, there are sandwiches galore: There’s cold (chicken salad, egg salad), hot (Cuban, Philly steak, veggie flip), wraps (chicken Caesar, Mexiwrap), paninis (three cheese and pesto, turkey Reuben) and burgers (western BBQ, Santa Fe with salsa and avocado, plus a salmon burger).
Salads include Caesar, chopped, and Greek, as well as a Cali cobb with spinach, ham, turkey, avocado and Gorgonzola cheese with cilantro lime dressing, and the Mediterranean with chickpeas, beets, and house-made bruschetta, with a zesty Greek dressing.
Bud’s offers four different homemade soups daily, at least one of which is always vegetarian.
The breakfast menu includes breakfast sandwiches and breakfast pizza, pancakes, French toast, and breakfast skillets. Turczyn takes pride in serving thick-cut bacon from Louie’s Meats, along with using products from several other local sources, such as Bay Bread, Fustini’s, Great Northern Roasting and Friske’s.
Pastries include donuts, scones, cookies and muffins, served alongside coffee, espresso, tea and chai.
And don’t forget the ice cream! It’s served in a dish, cone, waffle cone, and in sundaes, shakes and malts.
Turczyn says the Zinger salad is the most popular with customers, with its mix of avocado, bean and corn salsa, and salsa ranch on romaine. But her favorite is the Landing.
“It’s is my go-to salad,” she said. She dresses up the savory mix of asiago cheese, bacon, egg, and green onion on a bed of romaine, including Gorgonzola ranch with chicken.
She also says the burgers are top choices, particularly the Backwoods Burger, with grilled onions, crimini mushrooms and melted provolone cheese.
Various specials come and go. Two to look for: the spinach artizza flatbread, with seasoned chicken, spinach-artichoke dip and cojack cheese, and the sea salt caramel chai.
While there are plenty of sweets to choose from, Turczyn points to three in particular.
“Our cheesecakes are dynamite: Home made, creamy, [in a] variety of flavors,” she said. “People drive miles for our cheesecake, cookies and cinnamon rolls.”
THE REST OF THE STORY
Despite its success – people line up outside the door throughout the summer – Turczyn says she’s still trying to figure out what Bud’s is known for.
She says some people that stop in are surprised at the diversity of Bud’s offerings.
“They say, ‘I drive by every day. We thought you just had ice cream. We didn’t know you had real food,’” she said.
Along with the “real food,” there is occasionally real entertainment as well. Most Thursday nights Jim Hawley provides music, with others performing some weekends.
Turczyn says the restaurant’s proximity to Interlochen Center for the Arts finds students often stopping at the cafe, as well as ordering for pickup and delivery.
Burgers, paninis and cold sandwiches start at $6.99, as do salads. Wraps start at $7.99, hot sandwiches at $8.49. Breakfasts range from $2.99 to $6.99.
Bud’s is open daily from 8am-8pm, closing an hour later Thursday through Saturday. In the summer those hours extend to 9pm and 11pm, respectively.
Online, go to budsisback.com, or visit it on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. In person, it’s located at 3061 M-137 in Interlochen.